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‘Side show at a carnival’: Colorado lawmakers react to Boebert’s State of the Union outburst

Members on both sides of political aisle condemn antics
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., left, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., right, scream “build the wall” as President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address Tuesday in Washington. (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool via AP)

Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert on Tuesday interrupted President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address, when he was speaking about his deceased son, to blame Biden for the death of service members.

As Biden was talking about cancer that put service members in a “flag-draped coffin,” Boebert yelled, “You put them in. Thirteen of them!” according to The Associated Press.

Boebert’s outburst was harshly criticized by Democrats.

Some Democrats booed Boebert, with one lawmaker calling for Boebert to be kicked out.

“The State of the Union is a storied and important American tradition, and one that warrants decorum and the respect of everyone attending on both sides of the aisle,” Sally Tucker, communications director for Rep. Joe Neguse, a Democrat who represents the 2nd Congressional District, wrote in an email to Newsline. “The congressman believes that the congresswoman’s outburst was beyond the pale and disrespectful to both the President and to Coloradans of all political affiliations who watched the proceedings to hear about issues of both national and international importance.”

“Representative Boebert is a courageous woman with strongly held beliefs, and I know from personal conversations that her feelings came from a place of genuine outrage and a perception that President Biden was being given a pass on his disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican who represents the 4th District, said in a statement emailed to Newsline from his press secretary.

“However, I am a firm believer in decorum, and I believe that we have seen a lack of it as our politics have become increasingly toxic during recent years,” Buck said. “The State of the Union is not a time for theater, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi treated it by ripping up President Trump’s speech while directly behind him for the cameras. Congress is not a focus group, as both parties have acted while booing and chanting during presidential addresses for years now. It is also not a time for heckling, as Lauren unfortunately did last night.”

During a news conference after Biden’s speech, Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat from the 6th District, called Boebert’s interruption “entirely inappropriate,” and said he would encourage her to “stop the outbursts.” Crow called Boebert’s interruption a stain on her.

“Congresswoman Boebert’s outburst was uncalled for and would have been inappropriate at any time during such an event, but certainly as President Biden was talking as a parent about the loss of a child and how our country can better help veterans,” Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat of the 7th District, said via a statement emailed to Newsline from his communications director.

“This is a moment of great challenge for the nation and the world, and it is hard to see how her disgraceful behavior helps anybody living in Colorado,” Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, said in a statement emailed to Newsline by his state deputy communications director.

Upcoming election

Marina Zimmerman, who is running to unseat Boebert in this year’s Republican primary, tweeted that Boebert “humiliated our great state in front of millions of viewers” by attacking Biden as he was talking about his dead son. “If members of Congress can come together & condemn her in a bipartisan fashion, we will unseat her the same way,” Zimmerman tweeted.

“Whether you agree or disagree with Joe Biden and his State of the Union address, Lauren Boebert’s actions were embarrassing to all of us who call Colorado home,” state Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose, who is also running against Boebert in the primary, said in a statement Wednesday. “Her juvenile behavior and antics for attention are better served in a junior high school or a side show at a carnival. Her lack of respect for the people she represents and the institution she serves is obvious.”

“Regardless of our politics, Lauren Boebert heckling President Biden while he spoke about his dead son, an Army veteran, isn’t just disrespectful to him personally as a grieving father, it’s disrespectful to our service members,” Sol Sandoval, who is running in the Democratic primary for the 3rd District, tweeted Tuesday.

State Rep. Donald Valdez, D-La Jara, who is also running in the Democratic primary, wrote, “Let’s send her home!” in a tweet.

The primary is June 28 and the general election is Nov. 8.

About the speech

Biden was speaking about his son, Beau Biden, who served in the Iraq War and died of brain cancer in 2015.

“When they came home, many of the world’s fittest and best trained warriors were never the same. Headaches. Numbness. Dizziness,” Biden said in his address. “A cancer that would put them in a flag-draped coffin. I know. One of those soldiers was my son Maj. Beau Biden.”

When asked for a comment about the criticism that Boebert, who represents Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, has received over her comments, Jake Settle, Boebert’s press secretary, directed Newsline to two of Boebert’s tweets.

“When Biden said flag draped coffins I couldn’t stay silent,” Boebert tweeted from her personal account Tuesday night. “I told him directly he did it. He put 13 in there.”

“The left is pissed because I called out Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan that left 13 of America’s finest in a flag-draped coffin,” Boebert tweeted Wednesday morning.

Boebert was referring to the terrorist attack outside the Kabul airport last summer, where 13 American service members were killed in a bomb attack, according to NPR.

During the speech, both Boebert and Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia stood up and yelled “build the wall” when Biden was speaking about immigration policy. Greene gave a speech at a far-right conference that has ties to white supremacy last weekend.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on MSNBC that Greene and Boebert’s heckling says a lot more about them than it does about how important the priorities Biden spoke about are.

To read more stories from Colorado Newsline, visit www.coloradonewsline.com.